After a long, full of struggle and dedicated period, officials of Jane Goodwill and London based non-profit World Animal Protection have finally managed to rescue the 19-year old sloth bear, Rangila from the capture of local men named Mohammed Salman and Mohammad Momtaz. Rangila, the male bear, after travelling for 30 hours, is now in good hands and is being taken care of in the Wildlife SOS Sanctuary after he reached late night yesterday. The permission was given by the Government of Nepal after Rangila was secretly kept in a repugnant zoo in Kathmandu with a 17-year old female sloth bear named Sridevi.
Rangila, the 19-year old sloth bear and Sridevi, a 17-year old sloth bear who is not alive anymore were poached as cubs. Two Nepalese men -Mohammed Salman and Mohammad Momtaz were the owners of these bears. They were earning their livelihood by presenting these dancing bears on the streets in order to entertain the local audience. Even though this tradition of capturing animals and especially bears for sole purpose of entertaining the audience is banned in Nepal, this was still practised illegally in its southern part.
The bears were tortured during their training as they had injury marks on their muzzles which indicated that hot iron rods were used to tug a rope to control them. Their teeth were also removed so that they could not attack their owners and were made to perform on their hind legs. The torturous training also included making the bears dance. The bears were compelled to stand on a metal platform, which had burning rods beneath, as part of their training. Eventually, when the bears felt the heat they moved their legs, one at a time, to get some relief, and that was the exact time at which music or drums were played, making it look like the bears were dancing. This torture made the bears accustomed to the pain. Despite the regular trauma, the bears were in a physically healthy condition as they were on rice and milk diet.
The nightmare was yet not over for the bears as they were sent to the ill-maintained zoo instead of the Wildlife SOS Sanctuary, a non-profit organisation in India. While they were here, their need for sanitation and proper health care was ignored just like the maintenance of the zoo because of which Sridevi lost her life here. According to Mr. Gautam, the executive director of Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal said that she suffered from Jaundice whereas he also claims that “negligence” was the prime cause of her death.
Even though the deceased female bear, Sridevi could not experience freedom, the male bear is brought to Wildlife SOS Sanctuary in India with the help of Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Nepal. Mr Gautam of JGI said that they have been trying to track the bears and looking for an apt time to rescue them. He further said that Sridevi, the 17-year old sloth bear died before getting the taste of freedom. Questions have been directed by Wildlife SOS to Nepalese government over why the bears were not brought to India at the designated time. They said that if the actions were taken on correct time, Sridevi would have been alive.
The owners of the bears said that they knew this profession was not going to last long. The rescue operations also aims at providing job opportunities to owners in order to save their source of earning. Hence, the two owners were given temporary jobs. They also signed legal documents which stated that if they were found involved with bears again then the punishment will be harsh.
This was just one of the many animals who are being tortured for the purpose of entertainment. Even though various nations have banned this profession and consider it illegal, people still practise this at the cost of the freedom of the animal.